On Friday night I put the kids to bed and headed to my treadmill for a short walk. Usually I listen to music as I walk, but that evening I decided just to walk and pray. I told God about several things registering as worries in my mind.
One of the things I prayed about was my two children. They are each going through a rough patch right now, with seemingly no breakthroughs in sight. You know that hurts a momma's heart.
I also prayed about the escalating number of ministry responsibilities I'm facing. I prayed through my list of these one-by-one with Him . Then I noted that I felt like I need an assistant.
Another thing I told Him was I wanted my life and ministry to hum in harmony with His purposes for me, but felt overwhelmed as to where to focus my (limited) attention next. Hence, I figured an assistant could help.
I also lamented the fact that I don't seem to read as much as I used to. And yet there is SO MUCH that I want to read. Need to read. Plan to read. I recall people telling me, "I don't know how you read so much, Rachel. I just can't find the time or concentration to do that." Honestly, then I couldn't understand how they could not read a lot. Now I get it. So I asked God to give me back the ability to read and recall as well as I used to. And to complete all those things on my to-read stack.
I prayed about other things and people as well. I praised God. And I lifted up several people's prayer requests I'd heard last week through P31. Then I got off the treadmill and felt God whisper in my heart, "I will be Your assistant."
Minutes later as I headed for my home office I felt Him say, "There's lots to read, but only one thing is required." (My Bible)
Once on my laptop, I received email notification of a new comment on my Life Comes at You Fast post. Heading to my blog to read it, I caught sight of the scriptures I'd put there earlier in the day.
"The LORD is with me; he is my helper."
~ Psalm 118:7a
See, Rachel, I am here. And I will be the assistance you need.
"But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless."
~ Psalm 10:4
I see the situations with your children. You can trust me with this, Rachel.
My head lowered as I realized what God was doing. He was answering my prayers - with the verses in my own blog post.
Next I looked at the other verse I'd listed ("Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I."~ Isaiah 58:9). I didn't sense an immediate connection between it and my earlier prayers--until I read it in its context. Then I totally saw my Divine Assistant scheduling my busy days for me, to ensure they would hum in harmony with God's purposes just like I prayed:
"This is the kind of fast day I'm after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I'm interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.'
If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people's sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry."
~ Isaiah 58:9-11 (MSG)
That was Friday night, and He has already confirmed this "Isaiah 58 to-do list" to me several times. Plus, my son experienced a small breakthrough yesterday and my daughter, a major one on Saturday. Friends, we serve a God who hears and answers our prayers. A God willing to direct, and bless, our paths. A God who wants our lives to glow with His grace. And a God who wants us to care for His people, particularly our families and the needy.
PS. If you sense God impressing the above passage on your heart as well, hop over and check out Compassion International today.